Title

Dionysus

Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Level of Access

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Advisor

David Kress

Second Committee Member

Richard Brucher

Third Committee Member

Elizabeth Neiman

Abstract

The manuscript below is an amalgamation of farce with the purpose of exploring a character within an inescapable existence. Indeed, the narrator is so deep in the trench that he has been manipulated twice over at a two-fold distance from the thesis writer. First, the narrator’s story is being retold by the narrator himself from memory, then he employs the story-within-a-story cliché by placing this retelling in a narrative which he wrote on a collection of notecards. After this, the notecards themselves have been rearranged to an uncertain degree by a Professor of Philosophy somewhere in Florida after the notecards were delivered to the scholar’s office in Miami. It is possible that the professor, aptly named Apollo Bartholomew, has rewritten entire portions of the text considering he took the liberty of inserting himself into the epilogue and advertising for his own books throughout the text. When he completed his work—or, rather, when he gave-up, since he could no longer go on—he sent it all to the thesis writer who further edited the script for thesis submission. All this to exaggerate the first narrator’s sense of entrapment. There is no way out—not even from his existence within a text. Dionysus is a tricky character whose presence is never given the weight he would perhaps prefer to have. One finds that the mischievous puppet continually inserts himself in places in order to draw the attention of spectators—a desire which is understandable, coming, as he has, from the intense social setting of Ben Jonson’s play Bartholomew Fair where Dionysus (or Dionysius, as he is called in Jonson) achieved his audience. One can therefore assume Dionysus was, at one point, in search of this missing audience from which the thesis writer/Apollo/the narrator has so violently seized him. Now, with the understanding that this audience is no longer achievable—an Elizabethan audience? In today’s climate? History would not allow such a thing!—Dionysus contents himself like a spouse in a marriage full of resentment to play his games with the narrator as though to torture whose-ever genderless wrist he can get his skirt around (the narrator is quite keen on cutting off his own genitalia, though this is not the only reading in which gender inescapability possible in this text). It is unclear whether or not this was an original choice of the narrator, if Dionysus actually existed, if Apollo inserted him for proportion, or if the thesis writer included him so he had a reason to call the thesis Dionysus.

Included in

Fiction Commons

Share